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Is It That Bad? Kemi Ogunniyi presents “The Foreign Otondo: Your NYSC Survival Guide” – A New Book



Over 3,000 Nigerian graduates in Diaspora return home annually to serve their fatherland under the one-year National Youth Service Corps scheme. Amidst tightening immigration laws in their host countries and in light of new opportunities in Nigeria, many of these graduates return home, but must enroll in the mandatory scheme in order to work both in the public and private sectors. They are faced with various challenges and have many questions begging for answers. “The Foreign Otondo: Your NYSC Survival Guide”, is a booklet aimed at answering many of those questions and making the NYSC year less stressful and, hopefully, more fulfilling for the Corps member.

This booklet is meant to guide you throughout your NYSC journey – from the initial decision making to final completion.

According to the author, Kemi Ogunniyi, who returned home to serve between Oct 2010 and Sep 2011 and found the experience so intriguing that she had to write about it, “A lot of Nigerian students abroad have lots of questions about what NYSC is really about. They want to know what they would be doing during the year. They want to know what the three-week orientation programme at the camp feels like. They want to know what to bring with them. These were the sort of questions I had in my mind when I decided to go to Nigeria to take part in the NYSC scheme. The answers were not readily available to me, and I went through arduous lengths seeking information from people. That is why I wrote this book – to help other intending Otondos (Corpers) prepare better, from initial registration to the final passing out parade. Graduates who have studied in Nigeria will find it useful too.”

Kemi, who works as a communications and business consultant, writer, and editor, has also trained as a broadcast journalist, done a few stints at the BBC, and also holds an MSc in Marketing.

The book has received several glowing reviews including this from Journalist and winner of CNN Multichoice African Journalism Prize, 2009, Tolu Ogunlesi, who says, “An appropriate alternative title for this Guide would be: What Google won’t teach you about NYSC. Kemi Ogunniyi has done a great job putting this together, to help intending returnees beat a smoother path through the NYSC Jungle; overgrown as it is with bugles, bunk beds, bureaucracy, and bottom-of-the-food-chain wages. It’s not for nothing that NYSC has come to mean Now Your Suffering Continues. Armed with The Foreign Otondo, at least you can prepare for that suffering. Believe me – that preparation will make all the difference in the world. Even home-grown Otondos (I was one) will find it very useful.” Dayo Israel, a special representative to the United Nations also has this to say, “The book conveys the NYSC Experience from an exceptionally intelligent and entertaining point of view. It’s a candid exposition of the National Youth Service programme experience.”

You can buy a copy online via Ebay and the book’s official website ( at an introductory price of £5.99.  You can also visit, where you can interact with the author and other intending ‘Otondos’.

So what do you think? Do you really need a guide to the NYSC experience?


  1. Laide O

    September 3, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Yes – us foreign graduates really do need some guidance! But I’m not sure if I would buy sucha book as there are a couple of blogs with comprehensive information about the NYSC experience

  2. Nikki

    September 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I definitely have to buy this book….been battling with my thoughts…”should i go to naij in November to serve”..definitely looking forward to meeting new people!

  3. Anoni

    September 3, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Some people are just gifted in sighting opportunities in the midst of their frustrations. Some blog about their experiences but she took to writing a ‘survival guide’. And it’s readily available for its target market on ebay. Kudos to her!

  4. OLA

    September 3, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    nice job,i tell one of my friends in abroad coming down for his nysc..

    • notaplayerhater

      September 5, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      your friend IN abroad???? damn!

  5. merciful

    September 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Nice idea… Very useful indeed! Tanx kemi.

  6. MOI

    September 3, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    awwww, very proud of kemi

  7. Person pikin

    September 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    The way we nigerians hype anything foreign ehn!

  8. Lucia

    September 3, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Great idea dear! Thumbs up!

  9. F to the B

    September 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Go Kemi!!! Great girl!!!

  10. nich

    September 3, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    i will never live in nigeria…………..i am quite happy living in the states……….

    • Ginika

      September 4, 2012 at 11:40 am

      Then why are you on a Nigerian site? You should be quite happy on American sites only.

    • Laide O

      September 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      haha! abi o!

    • Naija Girl

      March 5, 2013 at 3:53 am


    • Mosun

      September 6, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      Lmao… I dont think naija will miss yo

      Lmaoooo…. Who ask you? Naija won’t even miss you! For your mother mind she born o

  11. Jack Bauer

    September 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Lovely idea…its a guide for “dem tush/posh” foreign Otondos coming for d compulsory 3weeks orientation….Buying for my friends in “obodo oyinbo” for them to come back home…God bless the author….

  12. Brandigest

    September 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    He just identified a void and filled it. Business is providing solutions to challenges,and that’s exactly what Kemi did. Kudos, I know what it takes to put up this piece. Bravo.

  13. Le Dynamique Professeur

    September 3, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Great work.. still contemplating NYSC though… is it really worth it, especially with all the news in the North?

    • MsSexy

      September 4, 2012 at 2:11 am

      Butu don’t have to serve in the North now

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      September 4, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      Who’s to say he doesn’t? Do the corpers get a choice? I served in Yobe state and just cannot believe all that’s been happening there in the past couple of years… can only thank God for taking me there, keeping me safely and letting me get back home alive long before these boko haram troubles gathered steam …

  14. ronan

    September 3, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    This is such an amazing concept because most uni leavers, both home and abraod have a general idea of what NYSC entails but no one really has a clue as to what to expect. And even when you ask people who have done it they never really give u any real answers apart from ‘the first 2 weeks suck but the last week is fun’. WTF. Anyway this guide is much appreciated cos i’m going home to do the nysc. Shame on nysc for not having such a guide and they better get on this and endorse it and show Mz Oguniyi the MONEY!!


    September 3, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    @nich,we r not even beggin u to cum bak to naija.Who cares?U can stay in d states 4 d rest of ur life dat one na 4 ur pocket

  16. Ajoke

    September 3, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    This might be useful one day…

  17. CEO

    September 4, 2012 at 12:20 am

    can we get the book for free? 😀

  18. soki briggs

    September 4, 2012 at 4:15 am

    lmao – yeah i was laughing while reading this… Who would ever think that graduates need an NYSC survival guide. lol Nice one and congratulations to the writer – This is unique and will go places.

  19. J

    September 4, 2012 at 5:58 am

    Errrm, “one of ur friends in abroad”… LWKM4H, u sure it’s not “one of ur friends in abule”… ROTLOL

  20. Gennyz # 1 Fan!!!!

    September 4, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Just bought mine 😀 it better be well worth it for $13 0000

  21. Miss H

    September 4, 2012 at 8:43 am

    I’m currently serving,and even though I’m home-grown…Unilag grown for that matter…i still had to read extensively and consult ex-corpers and serving ones alike,just to be prepared. i knew all i had to have,i had all i had to have…and even though the encouragement and possessions i had cushioned the effects,nothing really prepared me for all I’m going through. understand this,i schooled here,I’ve seen horrible…but the soldiers…WOW. you also have to consider who your boss could be in this scheme. personalities differ. God help you if you get attached to a crazy one… all in all,you settle with time and personalise Nysc so you can have fun while you’re at it. i hated the three weeks in camp…but Inever left for a single day and i sometimes miss it. i gyess that means i didn’t hate it so much. all in all,it’s a sweet pin. one you’ll miss at the end of it all. the book will help. but know this,you’ll still have your own experiences, and quite frankly,nothing prepares you for those. prepare to feel unprepared 😀

  22. jemmi

    September 4, 2012 at 9:12 am

    ok i dey vex, d book no dey ebay jare, plus on its website its not sold in Nigeria, only UK, US, Canada and other countries except the one country it concerns, abeg am upset joor, bella u berra post my comment o

    • F to the B

      September 5, 2012 at 10:07 pm

      dont know what you are talking about about!! I got mine and im the UK.

  23. kem

    September 4, 2012 at 9:17 am

    every reader here don form states, isorite oh, on a 2nd thought, d dvd will sell more cuz nigerians love to watch movie than read….lol

  24. omalicha

    September 4, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Nice one but ermm, i dont tink it will be usefull if u want to serve in Abuja or Lagos becos anytin goes. *wink*

  25. LPS

    September 4, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Really fab idea..Well done Kemi

  26. Iris

    September 4, 2012 at 11:15 am

    LOL! It’s not that serious abeg. It’s great that she found a way to make money out of this, but I don’t know if it’s a great idea to have something specially prepared for foreign students, particularly with the prejudices a lof of students who went to school in Nigeria have against foreign students. To you guys thinking of serving, be prepared for the worst. The bathrooms will make you plead the blood of Jesus, standing under the sun for hours is a nightmare, the display of incompetence is frightening, and the queues and the pace of things…well, you’ll be praying for patience 24/7. This is the same for everyone regardless of where you went to school, especially if you value personal hygiene and have moderate standards for anything in life. I know how it can be particularly irritating for foreign students who are used to some level of efficiency but trust me, if you’re sensible the last thing you’ll want to do is stand out. Complaining that you’re used to better standards is not going to help. So buy it and read it if you must, but PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS BOOK TO CAMP, lol (or if you do, read it under your covers. You’ll probably need a flashlight to do so anyway lol)Just talk to someone who has done it to get an idea of what to do, prepare your mind for the worst, and take plenty of white socks to camp. It’s all about the mindset. Before youknow it, the nightmare will be over (and for me, October 23rd can’t come fast enough. I might even do thanksgiving after).

  27. Berry Choco-Latte

    September 5, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Dammit! I have a blog with FREE info on this exact topic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Ngozi A

      September 9, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      I ordered the book last week and it was delivered 3days ago. After reading the book and reading your blog, I would say your blog has nothing on it 🙂 I think the person that called it ‘What google won’t teach you about NYSC’ is so right! I think what I like about the book is that it looks like an official document of the NYSC process put together in a readable and funny way. Definitely different from all the blogs I have been reading to prepare me for NYSC as I go to Nigeria to serve in November!

  28. HOPE

    November 7, 2012 at 10:50 pm


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